September 1, 2014

Young children do best in all aspects of life in the care of their family

Mari Swindley’s submission

I am in opposition to this proposed law change that will see children as young as 3 years old in compulsory early care/education. Studies the world over, as well as anecdotal evidence of parents, show conclusively that regardless of the culture, young children do best in all aspects of life in the care of their family, particularly that of their mothers &/or fathers. This study – www.imfcanada.org/issues/nurturing-children-why-early-learning-does-not-help – is just one example of the benefits of keeping youngsters at home, learning, growing & being cared for within normal family life. I know the reasons behind this bill officially, are mainly to protect young children from abuse, rather than their education. But, like the repeal of Section 59, this is the absolute wrong way to go about it. Forcing the separation of family for any but the most extreme circumstances is never right. I believe, rather, it would be more beneficial to look into, again not as a one-size-fits-all response, but case-by-case, the option of parenting classes for young parents, for those without a strong extended family or support network, when benefits are applied for. Supporting especially young parents in their responsibilities as a family is a far better way ahead. As a home school mother, it is frightening to think that when my children were that age, should my husband have needed to be on a benefit at any point, that we would have had to choose between them & having enough money to live on. It is not a choice any parent should have to make. Unfortunately, in this bill being considered, New Zealand is again in danger of repeating mistakes made by other countries, rather than learning from those mistakes & making better decisions. While paying people a benefit will always have it’s problems, forcing lifestyle changes on families will have many more. Please, do not let this bill go through. It places the next generation in a very dangerous position. Thank you.